Atlantic Mutual: Pipes, Hoses Top ‘Most Wanted’ List for Water Damage

October 11, 2005

Hurricanes grab headlines for their power and threat to life and limb, but when it comes to water damage, the main culprits reportedly lurk behind appliances, under sinks, and inside walls. Leaking pipes, dishwasher and washing machine hoses, and water heaters are the more mundane-but more common-water damage risks, according to Atlantic Mutual.

To help homeowners minimize the chance of water damage, Atlantic Mutual is offering free tips in the fall issue of its safety newsletter, SafetyWise, which can be downloaded from the company Web site,

Kathy Spinella, assistant vice president of property claims at Atlantic Mutual, said: “Many people are surprised that water damage is responsible for more homeowners’ claims than fire, storms and theft. This misperception is probably why a recent poll found that 40% of homeowners neglect taking the appropriate measures to prevent water damage.”

A sample of the water damage prevention tips follows:

Washing machine, dishwasher hoses: Replace the hoses every three years. If you can’t remember how old they are, replace them immediately. Use a good light to search the hoses for cracks, tiny blisters, or bulges. Feel for signs of wetness. Make sure the hose connections are secure and there is enough room to prevent kinks, which will weaken hoses. If there is any sign of weakness or wetness, replace the hoses. If not, make a note of the inspection date and post it near the hoses.

Automatic ice-maker line: Refrigerators with automatic ice-makers draw water through a tiny hose or flexible copper pipe. Inspect the hose or pipe periodically. Have a licensed plumber replace the hose if you see signs of age or leaking. When you pull the refrigerator out from the wall, be careful not to overextend the hose or pipe. Watch out for kinks. And, make sure the hose doesn’t kink when you push the refrigerator back in.

Spinella added, “Just in case a leak does develop, everyone in the house should know the location of the water shutoff valves. And, if you’re going away for a few days or longer, consider turning off the main water supply or at least the supply to the washing machine.”

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